I am an operator of an independent carry out and delivery pizza place in Aurora, IL. I am also looking to increase revenew in our shop by selling frozen pizzas. I am a frequent customer of Lou Malnattis in a neighboring town and I find myself ordering dinner and then buying 3 or 4 frozen pies to take home. I have a constant request from customers for half baked or frozen pizzas that I offer somewhat “under the table” as I am unsure of regulations and what would need to happen for me to mainstream the sales of these as far as having a dedicated freezer in my store or possibly getting them into the few specialty grocers in my area. If anyone has gone through this or has helpful info regarding health rules and regulations, since we use raw sausage in the making of our pizza, and my assumption is that if half baked the meat is not fully cooked, also packaging, distribution, etc.
I believe this would be a great addition to our small mom and pop shop but as anyone in the same boat knows, one good idea that is not fully thought out or done correctly could mean the end of the line and losing everything. Thanks in advance for any help I might recieve!
The absolute best thing you can do is to call your food inspector. Every state has different laws and food codes.
One downfall to trying to offer your product in stores is that competitor’s with deep pockets may pay store management to not carry your product if it effects their sales.
To do this from one of YOUR stores is not a big problem, but trying to sell your frozen pizzas from a grocery store can be a major undertaking. You are going to need to play by the exact same rules governing the big boy players in frozen pizza. Made under USDA inspection (at your cost), must have a HACCP plan, product recall plan, alergen statement, ingredient deck, nutritional labeling, are just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve written about this before. You might check the archives.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctctor
We sell 1/2 baked pizzas all the time. No need to sell “frozen” make it up fresh and send it on it’s way. We often get this requests because we offer a great deal on 2nd pizzas so the girls upsell it for them to take home.
We have stickers we put on the box of how to cook it and include an imprinted pizza server.
As for selling at a grocer…no way in h*ll, I would undertake that…right now anyway!
Living here in Kansas its not unusual to come across a pizzeria in a small town serving an agricultural community, where the pizzeria is the social meeting place for farm families with kids. Since they don’t make the trip into town all that often, its common for the pizzeria to have a refrigerated or frozen case stocked with pizzas made on par-baked crusts for their customers to purchase and take home with them to enjoy later in the week. Most are only labeled with the toppings, a use by date, baking instructions, and price.
This is a whole lot like the old “deli” pizzas that you used to be able to buy at the local supermarket. I think of this type of pizza as an early version of what we call “take and bake” today, however, there are some operators who make this type of pizza and call it take and bake. The main difference is that in todays world, take and bake pizza is made on a raw dough skin, and it is sold refrigerated, not frozen. If it is sold frozen, the dough is made with a chemical leavening system in addition to yeast, and it assumes yet another name “bake to rise”.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor